by Maria Popova
What the Queen’s speech has to do with Jimi Hendrix’s fro and John Lennon in color.
Last year, the excellent Nowhere Boy offered an unprecedented look at John Lennon’s unknown early life, and earlier this year, the world took a first glimpse of some rare and intimate photos of The Beatles taken by the Fab Four’s tour manager in The Lost Beatles Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive, 1964-1966. This month, the quest to know the private Beatles is catapulted into a whole other dimension in Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs — a remarkable retrospective volume of work by the late and great Linda McCartney, wife of Paul, passionate animal rights activist and, above all, formidable music photographer who captured cultural icons like Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel and The Grateful Dead, and was the first woman to land the coveted Rolling Stone magazine cover with her portrait of Eric Clapton in 1968.
The lavish retrospective, from none other than Taschen, features the most compelling photographs culled from her archive of over 200,000 images. From her early portraits of the Swingin’ Sixties to her final years with The Beatles, McCartney’s work spans an incredible range of cultural history and energy, ranging from the quiet poetry of private moments to the palpable creative energy of studio sessions to the riveting exhilaration of life on and behind the stage.
Besides The Beatles, the retrospective, with text by Annie Liebowitz andMartin Harrison, features priceless photos of other icons, including Jimi Henrdix, Twiggy, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Willem de Kooning.
Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs is both unassuming and exceptional, humanizing the fetishized concept of celebrity in a way few have managed in the history of photography.